It’s never too early to celebrate the winter holidays, and with the rain storm and cold front that moved into Los Angeles just a week after Halloween, it was perfect timing for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s fabulous annual GLAAD Tidings on November 6.
To the theme of Silver Bells, the much-anticipated event was hosted for the second consecutive year at the magnificent Bel Air estate of media wunderkind Paul Colichman, CEO of the world’s leading LGBT media conglomerate, Here Media, and his partner, handsome actor David Millbern.
As frosty temperatures dipped into the 50s, the barely clad Viking men and women serving ROKK Vodka drinks moved a little quicker in their faux fur vests and leather loin cloths, and guests huddled close together around outdoor heaters. Perhaps putting on a bit of blubber was the motivation for the crowds gathered round the food stations, or else it was just the delish cupcakes from Sprinkles and tasty BBQ from STK that kept them going back for more.
Other guests rubbed elbows inside the manse for body warmth around the blazing hearth in the grand living room where servers passed hors d’oeuvres from Love Catering. The Colichman-Millbern home was a welcoming place to mingle with friends and strangers, with homey and intimate touches like a showcase with the boys’ childhood photos and memorabilia alongside a collector’s case of priceless autographs and rare photos of the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Vivian Leigh and Mae West.
As is traditional at this stylish soiree, dapper gay men and lovely lesbians and their friends donned their best festive, gay attire. Among the well-heeled attendees was actress Tracy Scoggins, best-known to many as Monica Cole on Dynasty, but revered by the GLAAD crowd for her turn as a witch on Dante Cove on here! network. A native of the Lone Star State, Scoggins exclaimed, “In Texas we say the tits and teeth can be fake, but the jewels have to be real,” as she cradled her dazzling amethyst pendant, a precious keepsake crafted by her late mother.
Alongside Scoggins beamed fellow 80’s soap opera icon Joan Van Ark of Dallas and Knots Landing fame, looking sleek in an all-black power pant suit. All around the room there was plenty of Prada, Michael Kors and other designer duds, along with star power, including Ross Montgomery (Chelsea Lately, The Tonight Show), recording artist/TV personality Kimberley Locke, Kaya Jones (formerly of the Pussycat Dolls), World Dance Champion/choreographer Louis Van Amstel, actress/comedienne Kim Coles, Chrishell Stause (All My Children) and comedian Michael Zeigfeld.
The stars faithfully came out for GLAAD this year, though the trimmings at the Tidings party were trimmer than in recent years. Gone were the ice sculptures, falling man-made snow flakes and the tony gift bags with a pair of Okobos sandals for every guest. But what may have been missed by some from Christmas’ past was made up for in heart in the program.
Host Paul Colichman lead off with a CliffsNotes version of the state of the 80s gay movement and the media’s anti-gay rhetoric during the AIDS epidemic that fomented GLAAD’s formation, and then to the uprising that was the advent of the Advocate, the stalwart LGBT news magazine acquired by his media group in 2008. It was a hop-skip down gay memory lane, as Colichman fondly recalled some of GLAAD’s proudest accomplishments over 25 years of working with the media to bring stories of LGBT people to millions of Americans every day to help foster awareness and build support for full equality. Some of those proud moments in gay history included Ellen’s coming out, and more recently Chaz Bono’s stint on Dancing with the Stars.
For the entertainment portion of the program, comedienne and emcee Kim Coles got the crowd tittering about her definition of LGBT which she fit into — Lovely, Gorgeous, Beautiful and Tall. If the ground had not been so wet and frigid, the audience would have been rolling on it. Later, things warmed up a bit when former Pussycat Doll’s Kaya Jones took the stage for a couple of hot numbers, complete with leather-clad man toy back-up dancers.
As the crowd winded out to the long driveway to the shuttles to their cars parked along Beverly Glen, they sampled a parting favor of a special Pinkberry treat of peppermint yogurt with chocolate and mint sprinkles. A delightful, decadent and refreshing ending to an evening that was equally a treat.